Posted by: Peter Houston | November 5, 2009

GM Alex Anthopolous

Alex AnthopolousRight off the bat, if you haven’t checked out the introductory post to the Jays Balk blog, scroll down for a nice season summary/ J.P. obituary.

Now, on to new GM Alex Anthopolous.

When he was hired, I was asking along with the rest of Jays fans, Anthopowho? But, he quickly won me over with his scouting department moves. Getting rid of anything and everything related to J.P. wasn’t the only thing that had me hopping aboard the A-train (new nickname?), it was his commitment to improving scouting, especially in Latin America. How many great MLB players are there from Latin America? How many are on the Jays? I feel like there’s a lot of untapped potential to be explored south of the equator. And if the Jays are ever going to be competitive in the AL East, they have to have the upper hand in the scouting and player development departments so they can build a contender around young, inexpensive talent like the 2008 Rays.

As for free agents, Anthopolous has expressed interest in re-signing John McDonald, Marco Scutaro and Rod Barajas. I think it would be smart to sign John McDonald, to a cheap deal with intentions of using him as a utility player. I also think it’s a good idea to re-sign Barajas, who’s good at working with new pitchers, which the Jays will certainly have a lot of in 2010. If we sign him for say, 1 or 2 years, it should give the Jays’ top catching prospect J.P. (no relation) Arencibia enough time to get himself major league ready. Re-signing Marco Scutaro would be a mistake, but I suspect Anthopolous knows that. He’s a Type A free agent coming off a career year. There’s no doubt in my mind someone will overpay for him in the free agent market and the Jays will receive two compensation picks (one first round) in return. Not bad.

Then things went downhill.

Anthopolous brought back Cito Gaston as manager for the 2010 season. I don’t know where to start with this. First of all, I think the Jays are going to be rebuilding this year. Cito “I love veterans” Gaston is not the man you want managing a rebuilding team. But maybe the worst part about bringing Cito back is the loss of Brad Arnsberg or Gene Tenace. Arnsberg will be sorely missed, especially by the Jays young pitchers. He moved on to the Houston Astros and if you’re in the mood for an in depth breakdown of Arnsberg’s time with the Jays, check out Astros blog Crawfish Boxes.

Another thing about Arnsberg was his great relationship with Roy Halladay. I think his departure is a blatant sign that the Jays are getting ready to unload Halladay this offseason. This, however, would be a good move for the team. Now settle down all you Halladay disciples. Don’t get me wrong, I love Halladay as much as the next guy. Actually, probably more. I’ve been known to watch entire Halladay starts, pitch-by-pitch…on MLB Game Day. There’s no joy quite like watching the Doc euthanize the Yankees with a 1 hit, complete game shutout and no pain like seeing Halladay give up that 2 run homer to Luke Scott in the top of the second. But, I have to put my love for the team ahead of my love for Halladay. Trading him this offseason is a necessity. His trade value will only go down from here, as teams will have less incentive to trade for a player with less time remaining on their contract. It may spike up at the trade deadline depending on the teams involved and their unique situations, but likely no more than it is now. And not trading Halladay at all is not an option, because we all know he will likely walk at season’s end. So, the Jays need to, and I think will, deal him this offseason and get a serious package of prospects. This is where the rebuilding will begin.

Thus far, Anthopolous has done some things I like, and some things I really don’t. He still has a lot to prove. His next test comes some time this weekend when he reveals his long-term plan for the Jays success. If that plan doesn’t involve rebuilding in 2010, then I’m getting off the A-train.




  1. Do you think that Arnsberg leaving is that terrible? Sure the Jays young pitchers have had success under him, and he obviously has a good relationship with Doc, However, many of those young pitchers who had success have suffered serious arm injuries (Marcum, Litsch, McGowan). Would you blame that on management in general? Or simply bad luck? I would argue some of the blame has to be directed toward mismanagement by the pitching coach.
    I like the blog.

  2. It’s always hard, and sometimes impossible, to pin injuries on any specific cause. This is a great breakdown or Arnsberg’s career as a pitching coach It’s long, but comes to some interesting conclusions. It basically says you can’t blame Arnsberg for the injuries to Marcum and McGowan. The only time the blame for an injury to a young pitcher can be pretty easily placed on the pitching coach or the manager is when their innings pitched jumps more than 30 innings from the previous season. With McGowan, that only happened in 2008, when Cito was brought in. The article, and myself, would tend to shift the blame towards Cito’s old school managing style rather than Arnsberg. Also, the fact that Arnsberg and Cito had some chronicled differences may lead one to believe he was fighting against Cito’s overuse of the young guys. So, it’s really hard to place the blame anywhere, but in my opinion it wasn’t because of Arnsberg. We’re sad to see him go because of his knack for turning just about any young Jays’ throwers into solid pitchers.

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